Sport of Silo Ice Climbing Gains Traction in Iowa

Jorge Alvarez of Council Bluffs (left) and Mike Hoy of Cedar Falls ascend the silo near Cedar Falls on Saturday, January 5, 2012. Under the direction of Don Briggs, Univeristy of Northern Iowa professor and Cedar Falls resident, Silos have been covered and ice and climbed since 2001. This silo allows climbers to challenge themselves to 80 feet of ice climbing in rural Iowa. (Kyle Grillot/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — The specialized sport of silo ice climbing is gaining more followers at a farm in eastern Iowa.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports an iced-down silo at Rusty Leymaster's farm northwest of Cedar Falls is the largest in the Midwest.

Dozens of climbers strapped into harnesses and tried to climb the 80-foot structure on Saturday. Some enthusiasts are as young as 10 years old, and they say it's a great outdoor activity.

The sport has gained popularity over the years. It started with just a handful of people at the farm, and now has more than 300 season pass holders.

Silo ice climbing at the farm is mostly run by volunteers and University of Northern Iowa students. UNI also supplies climbing gear for newcomers.

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